For years, my wife and kids and I have maintained an egg-laying flock of hens at Bartolomei Farms, our home ranch located just a few miles down the road. These girls are fed all the scraps from the restaurant and our gardens and in return provide beautiful golden-yolked eggs for our breakfast program. While the size of the flock is constantly shifting, our goal is to keep it around 80 productive hens. Because we favor heritage breeds with fancy feather and lots of colors (the pretty girls!), our production is a little lower than a standard commercial outfit yielding about 36 colorful eggs a day, about half of what commercial layers will deliver. But that’s okay with us, we love having a beautiful flock. Twice a year, in the fall and the spring, we mail order heritage chicks from a breeder in Connecticut.
Our little post office in Healdsburg always calls us as soon as they arrive which is usually around 5 am and I go pick them up.
This spring we got a few extras because we wanted to repopulate our demonstration coop at Farmhouse. We always pick the prettiest to come live here – they’re our show birds! Recently delivered and still acclimating, we now have four Farmhouse hens – two Araucanas for their beautiful bright blue eggs, one silver cochin (feather feet) who is large and friendly, and one little Silver Dutch with showy grey and white tail feathers. We invite you to come to visit and meet these girls and maybe even collect an egg or two.